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MODEL 1878 BLANKET BAG – COMPLETE WITH ARSENAL MARKED SHOULDER STRAPS – VERY NICE SPECIMEN:  This is an exceptional specimen of the fairly scarce Model 1878 Blanket Bag, arsenal marked and complete with an excellent set of like new, arsenal marked leather shoulder straps. 

Introduced with the better known 1878 Trial Equipment for the Infantry, such as the Modified Second Pattern Model 1878 Prairie Belt with the equipment rings, the Model 1878 Trial Bayonet Scabbard with the brass wire hook, and the narrow leather canteen shoulder strap, the Model 1878 Blanket Bag was part of the continuing effort on the part of the Army to improve the soldier’s field equipment. 

Intended to replace the Model 1874 Clothing Bag (The U.S. Army in the West, McChristian, page 224-225), and designed to be worn on the soldier’s back, the Model 1878 Blanket Bag was of sufficient size to carry the soldier’s bedding blanket, an extra pair of shoes, underclothing and socks, and his personal effects.  With an additional set of straps attached through the standing brass squares at the top of the shoulder straps, the soldier could attach his rolled shelter half and poncho.   

This Blanket Bag is complete with both of the leather shoulder straps, the lower equipment strap, and the interior pocket tie straps.  In very good condition showing little use, all of the buttons, “D” rings, and straps are intact, the cover is legibly stenciled “US”, the interior of the front flap is stenciled “COLUMBIA ARSENAL”, and all of the seams are intact.  The only sign of wear is a small wear hole on the back panel approximately ¼” in diameter.  There is no other damage to the bag.  The front flap and the flap of the small pocket at the top of the front panel were closed by a loop of buckskin that slipped over the tinned buttons that are present.  These thongs while still present are now broken due to age and could be easily replaced, and I will provide a small piece of old buckskin that you can use to make the replacements should you so desire.   

The Shoulder straps are “like new” with no sign of use or wear and with a bright clear smooth finish.  The standing loops, brass standing squares for attaching the shelter half/poncho rolls, and the adjustment hooks are present.  Each strap is stamped with the arsenal name where the strap was produced – Rock Island Arsenal and the Indianapolis Arsenal. 

For some reason, these Model 1878 Blanket Bags are far less common than are the clothing bags and haversacks – perhaps because of their practical nature and once they passed into the surplus market at places such as Bannerman’s, they were purchased and used up by groups such as the Boy Scouts, hunters, campers and others engaged in outdoor recreation - making decent specimens quite difficult to find.  This is a very nice example of the first Indian War soldier’s Blanket Bag, and one that would never need to be upgraded.  (0236)  $385



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